Reuben Paterson <em>The Golden Bearing</em> 2014. Govett-Brewster Collection

Reuben Paterson The Golden Bearing 2014. Govett-Brewster Collection

A new suite of exhibitions opening at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre

17 Nov 2017

Through December to March the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre opens a new suite of exhibitions as part of its three season calendar.

Rolling exhibition changeovers ensure there’s always something for visitors to see and experience at New Zealand’s contemporary art museum.

This exhibition suite is accompanied by a public programme including films, talks, tours, workshops and art-making. See what’s on here:

Projection Series #8: The Long Dream of Waking
11 Nov – Sun 24 Dec 2017
Inspired by a Len Lye poem of the same title, Projection Series #8: Long Dream of Waking presents four films which explore states of consciousness between sleep and wakefulness, illusion and reality. The series includes the masterpiece of Surrealist cinema Un Chien Andalou (1928), by Luis Buñuel with Salvador Dalí, and Maya Deren’s celebrated experimental film Meshes of the Afternoon (1943). Alongside these well-known works, The Long Dream of Waking showcases Bells of Atlantis (1952-3) by Ian Hugo, featuring abstract colour effects by Len Lye, and The Lost Dreams of Naoki Hayakawa (2016) by Ane Hjort Guttu and Daisuke Kosugi. Projection Series #8 screens at 1pm every Saturday and Sunday. Approximate running time: 73 minutes. Curated by Tendai John Mutambu and Sarah Wall.

Sun 3 Dec | 1pm
Len Lye Assistant Curator Sarah Wall introduces the four films in Projection Series #8: The Long Dream of Waking.


Billy Apple: Further Alterations
Sat 18 Nov 2017 – Sun 11 Feb 2018
Since its permanent installation and acquisition for the Govett-Brewster Collection in 1980 Billy Apple’s Altered Staircase has been ‘re-altered’ on two occasions linked to renovations and changes of the Govett-Brewster’s architecture. This exhibition completes its most recent, and third, iteration. Curated by Wystan Curnow.

Sat 18 Nov | 12pm
Billy Apple, Wystan Curnow and Simon Rees talk in the exhibition Further Alterations.


Reuben Paterson: The Golden Bearing
Sat 25 Nov 2017 – Sun 28 Jan 2018
Reuben Paterson’s well-loved, shimmering gold-glittered sculpture, The Golden Bearing, returns to view for the festive season. The hand sculpted, life-sized tree is presented inside the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery for the first time.

Nov 2017 – Jan 2018
Talks and a variety of workshops for kids of all ages in relation to The Golden Bearing, www.govettbrewster/events/

John Stezaker: Lost World

Sat 9 Dec 2017 – Sun 4 Mar 2018
John Stezaker is known for his distinctive, often deceptively simple, collages. Touring to Govett-Brewster from City Gallery Wellington, Lost World includes Stezaker’s collages, found-object sculptures and the flicker video Crowd. Lost World will travel on to Christchurch Art Gallery 23 March – 22 July 2018). Curated by Robert Leonard, City Gallery Wellington Chief Curator.

Sun 10 Dec | 2pm
Curator Robert Leonard talks about the touring exhibition John Stezaker: Lost World.
Len Lye: Big Bang Theory
Sat 16 Dec 2017 – Sun 18 Mar 2018
Big Bang Theory unveils for the first time since 1980 Len Lye’s large ‘myth’ paintings – one of his most personal projects and a fascinating insight into Lye’s unique artistic vision. This suite of works captures Lye’s interest in ancient mythology and human identity, searching our primordial DNA for the ‘happiness acid’. Curated by Paul Brobbel and Sarah Wall.

Sat 16 Dec | 11am | Sat 17 Feb | 2pm
Len Lye Curator Paul Brobbel and Len Lye Assistant Curator Sarah Wall lead tours of the Big Bang Theory exhibition.

Projection Series #9: Len Lye’s Jazz

Sat 30 Dec 2017 – Fri 30 Mar 2018
A showcase of the filmmaker’s experimental films driven by jazz soundtracks. An integral element in Lye’s films, the soundtrack was the film’s engine room, providing the energy and vibrancy for the artist’s inimitable visuals. Six films – including several ‘deep cuts’ – demonstrating Lye’s love of jazz and his status as an inventor of the modern ‘music video’. Projection Series #9 screens daily, 1pm, approximate running time: 30 minutes. Curated by Paul Brobbel


Len Lye: Blade
Tue 6 Feb – Sun 15 Apr 2018
A seminal work in Lye’s career, Blade has been a highlight of the Govett-Brewster's programme since Lye’s homecoming exhibition Kinetic Works in 1977. Developed in the late 1950s, Blade was one of Lye’s formative kinetic sculptures, inspired by the artist’s ability to shake materials like steel and find the natural modes of vibration. Curated by Paul Brobbel

Fiona Connor: Object Classrooms
Wed 21 Feb – Sun 29 Apr 2018
Fiona Connor's exhibition follows the path of abstract painter John McLaughlin's work through galleries, art institutions and conservation departments. In 1973 a crate of artworks was sent to New Zealand from Los Angeles for the touring exhibition State of Californian Painting. The exhibition included a work by John McLaughlin, which became influential in its own right. Curated by Sophie O’Brien

Sat 24 Feb | 2pm
Los Angeles-based New Zealand artist Fiona Connor talks in her exhibition about Object Classrooms and Abstractions: Works from the Govett-Brewster Collection.

Abstractions: Works from the Govett-Brewster Collection

Sat 10 Mar – Sun 29 Apr 2018
This exhibition focuses on the history and influence of geometric abstraction (particularly from the west coast of the United States) on artists in New Zealand. It connects the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery Collection to Fiona Connor’s new commission, Object Classrooms, and also gives visitors the chance to see a broad range of formal, abstract works from the 1970s to today. Curated by Tendai John Mutambu and Sophie O’Brien.

Sun 11 Mar | 2pm
Curators Sophie O’Brien and Tendai John Mutambu talk about Fiona Connor: Object Classrooms and Abstractions: Works from the Govett-Brewster Collection.

Image: Reuben Paterson The Golden Bearing 2014. Govett-Brewster Collection


We’ve created a slideshow/video illustrating the many aspects of exhibition changeover.
You can see it here:
For high-res images or enquiries please contact: 
Kelly Loney
Marketing and Communications Adviser
M: +27 839 2660


About Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre
The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is New Zealand’s contemporary art museum in the coastal city of New Plymouth, Taranaki on the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. Since opening in 1970, the Gallery has dedicated itself to innovative programming, focused collection development and audience engagement. It has earned a strong reputation nationally and internationally for its global vision and special commitment to contemporary art of the Pacific Rim. The Govett-Brewster is also home to the collection and archive of the seminal modernist filmmaker and kinetic sculptor Len Lye (1901–1980). 

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery was founded with a gift to the city of New Plymouth, from one of its greatest ‘Friends’ Monica Brewster (née Govett). A globetrotter before the age of air travel, Monica Brewster envisaged an art museum for her hometown that would be an international beacon for the art and ideas of the current day – the sort she had become familiar with on her global travels.

The Govett-Brewster continues in the legacy of Monica Brewster by taking on and presenting the most provocative, audacious and confident works of art in the global arts landscape.

The greatly expanded museum re-launched on 25 July 2015 with the addition of the Len Lye Centre. With its curved exterior walls of mirror-like stainless steel, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre is the country’s first example of destination architecture linked to contemporary art.

This latest addition to the Govett-Brewster – the Len Lye Centre – is New Zealand’s first institution dedicated to a single artist, the pioneering filmmaker and kinetic sculptor, Len Lye.

In 1964 Len Lye said “Great architecture goes fifty-fifty with great art”.

The Len Lye Centre building, adjoining the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, is an example of innovative thinking in both engineering and architecture. The architects are Patterson Associates, one of New Zealand’s most internationally recognised architectural firms. 

The new Len Lye Centre features Lye’s work in kinetic sculpture, film, painting, drawing, photography, batik and writing, as well as related work by contemporary and historical artists.

It also houses a state-of-the-art 62-seat cinema – a welcoming environment for audiences to experience Len Lye’s films, local and international cinema, cult, arthouse and experimental films, and regular festival programming.

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery building in New Plymouth closed in April 2013 for earthquake strengthening, compliance, upgrades and construction of the Len Lye Centre.

The Govett-Brewster/Len Lye Centre is owned and operated by the New Plymouth District Council, which governs the museum under the terms of the founding Monica Brewster Trust Deed and through the Len Lye Committee of Council which formally manages the relationship between Council, Len Lye Foundation, and Govett-Brewster staff.


About Len Lye
A visionary New Zealander, an inspirational artist, a pioneer of film; Len Lye is one of the most important and influential artists to emerge from New Zealand.

Len Lye was an experimental filmmaker, poet, painter, kinetic sculptor and creative visionary ahead of his time. Most of his works were so revolutionary that technology literally had to catch up to him – meaning much of Lye’s work was not realised in his own lifetime.

Lye’s iconic 45-metre kinetic sculpture Wind Wand sways gently on New Plymouth's Coastal Walkway. The Wind Wand that glows red at night, is the first large outdoor sculpture to be built posthumously from his plans and drawings.

In 1977 Lye returned to his homeland to oversee the first New Zealand exhibition of his work at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. He called it the “swingiest art gallery of the antipodes”.

Shortly before his death in 1980, Lye and his supporters established the Len Lye Foundation, to which he gifted his entire collection. His collection was gifted on the condition that a suitable and permanent home be created in which his works could be fully realised.